GMO Labeling

The issue of mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is currently under debate here in California. Unlike many of my vegan peers I’m opposed to this campaign to force labeling of GE foods. I have various problems with the idea both in theory and as it has been presented to the public but my primary objection is that passing such a law would be acquiescing to a scientifically unjustified demand by a political pressure group in addition to subverting the purpose and reasoning behind current food labeling law. It may also be a stepping stone to an outright ban, enough advocates have made their desires more than clear on the subject for it to be just a hidden possibility. For many activists it seems this is not an issue so much of giving consumers a choice but rather a way of forcing GMOs off the market. All this reminds me of another time a pseudoscientific pressure group pushed their own scientifically unjustified demand on the public in the form of an “innocuous” label.

When I went to high school in Georgia my biology textbook came with a warning label (pictured below). The label was the result of the efforts of a vocal group of Intelligent Design(ID) proponents who wished to use the label to instill false doubts in the minds of school children regarding the strength of the scientific case for evolution.

Proponents of Intelligent Design want “equal time” for their own idea of what passes for a scientific theory, in a similar way GMO labeling activists want their own food concerns to be given the same credence in labeling as other food concerns with scientifically established health implications, such as presence of allergens and nutritional content. While GMO labeling advocates campaign for their “right2know”, ID proponents like The Discovery Institute say “Students have a right to know” about intelligent design as well.  The focus on genetical engineering, in exclusion to other forms of genetic modification such as hybridization, marker assisted selection, embryo rescue, and mutagenesis, is also scientifically unjustified and reminiscent of the focus of ID proponents on the perceived problems of evolution but not other scientific theories. Those who fought to have the sticker included in my biology book didn’t think it important to include phrasing skeptical of germ theory as well, yet it certainly has its many deniers in alt med circles, or a sticker in the Earth Science textbook stating, “Plate tectonics is a theory, not a fact, concerning the origin of continental drift and earthquakes.” We could go on and on creating parody stickers for many other “scientific controversies” out there such as heliocentrism or the age, shape, and solidity of the earth.

A tactic common to both creationism/ID proponents and GMO labeling activists is the use of sensational and misleading imagery that does not in anyway honestly represent evolution or genetic engineering. The most notorious example of this from the anti-evolution side is when Kirk Cameron presented the now famous “crocoduck” argument. That Cameron would even present such a photo as an argument seems to indicate he has no real grasp on evolutionary theory or that he is being intentionally hyperbolic and misleading. GMO labeling advocates similarly make constant use of pictures of animal-vegetable chimeras, non-GE produce falsely presented as being GMOs, and hypodermic needle imagery betraying their ignorance of the methodology behind genetic engineering and misleading about the nature and current state of genetically engineered food. Another common tactic is the use of polls and appeals to popularity to lend them an air of public support. Additionally the insistence of GMO labeling advocates that we should only eat “foods from nature” also seems to display about as much awareness of how modern foods were shaped as the Banana Man Ray Comfort.

Aside from the lack of any significant nutritional difference between current GE and non-GE crops, industry and some consumer advocates often argue that mandatory GMO labeling is undesirable because it may increase food costs. Requiring a label that reads “contains genetically engineered ingredients” for the benefit of those that wish to avoid GMOs may be unfair both to food producers and consumers without a concern about genetically engineered food if the added cost is borne by the producer and consumers of such GE foods.  It should also be noted that there are conflicting studies on the question of how much mandatory labeling would increase costs and whether such labels would have a significant impact on consumer habits, so it is by no means a slam dunk argument nor I think the appropriate one to be making. On the other hand simply allowing a product to be labeled as “not produced using biotechnology” or “not made with genetically engineered ingredients”, within certain guidelines, puts any added burden on those that choose to seek out such foods or companies wishing to cash in on unfounded fears surround genetically engineered food. Consider Kosher or Halal labeling, should those who have no concern for Kosher or Halal guidelines be forced to pay any added cost of a nationally imposed labeling system?

This brings to mind the issue of labeling in regards to animal products. I’m well acquainted with the frustrations of trying to avoid animal products in a society in which consumption of animals is taken for granted. I’ve read countless food packages, Ive called and emailed many companies, I used to walk around with a copy of Animal Ingredients A to Z in my bag, Ive abstained when I just wasn’t sure, but among all this what Ive never done is demand that the government require a label clearly denoting the presence of animal products. Does it make sense in the context of food labeling law? Not really. Would such label even be desirable? Perhaps, though perhaps not. No doubt numerous vegetarians and vegans have expressed their desire for such labels and I would find them convenient but I foresee issues as well. Would it be a pragmatic use of energy and resources? I doubt it. Perhaps in the future I shall explore this tangent in more depth.

When GMO labeling advocates make claims that they are having “GMOs shoved down” their throat and that they are being “forced” and “lied to” they are just playing the (lazy) victim. Failing to make an effort to inform oneself about the foods they are buying is neither an outside imposition of force nor deception. As noted by Steve Savage “GMO food is actually already labeled if you know a few rules“. Vegans can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about questionable ingredients that may come from multiple sources such as lecithin or monoglycerides, Non-GMO eaters can read ingredient labels and call the company to ask about sourcing of questionable ingredients such as soy or maltodextrin. Non-GMO folks have also learned a few quick tricks for avoiding GMOs such as looking for an organic label, similarly vegans have their own quick tricks to help avoid animal products such as checking for cholesterol or looking for a Parve label. There are many food companies which label their food as “vegan” themselves or who use third party vegan certification labels which can help in making quick choices in the store. Similarly there are many companies which are choosing to proudly label their food as “Non-GMO” and many who are getting third party certification through organizations such as the Non-GMO Project.  In the end vegans tend to get by just fine avoiding animal products, I see no reason why those with fears of GMOs can not do the same.

Further reading:
Science: What’s it up to? by Karl Haro von Mogel
What’s in a label?
by Anastasia Bodnar
Ethics of Labeling by Anastasia Bodnar
To Label or Not to Label by Pamela Ronald
Obama will (probably) not label GE foods by Karl Haro von Mogel
GMO Food Is Actually Already Labeled If You Know A Few Rules by Steve Savage
The Right to Know: Why GMO Labeling Law Isn’t So Black and White by Rob Hebert

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23 Responses to “GMO Labeling”

  1. Anastasia Bodnar (@geneticmaize) Says:

    I am stunned. I wish I could say this comparison between creationists and anti-biotech folks was false but you’ve made a very clean argument.

    As a vegetarian, I too have felt frustration at lack of labeling, but never thought it would be appropriate to force my desires for more info on others – especially if it would make food cost more.

  2. GH Says:

    I never even noticed the similarities with the whole evolution thing. That’s a good point. I can’t stand seeing those images of produce with needles sticking out. That is very crocoduck. Besides everything else mentioned, the other thing I’d add that always gets me is the label itself. What is it saying? If all you know is that something is genetically engineered, all that tells you is that it is genetically engineered, which isn’t very meaningful. Like, if I said I modified my laptop, that statement alone doesn’t tell you if installed a new operating system, upgraded the memory, put Cyrillic stickers on the keys, or injected molasses into the hard drive. No different for GE crops. If all you know that something is genetically engineered, you don’t know what gene was inserted, where it came from, what the protein it encodes does, what any secondary metabolites are produced (if any) and what they do. Given that there are currently only a handful of genes used right now you can make a reasonable assumption as to what genes you’re getting, but still, I’ve never seen them even discuss the notion that not all GE crops are the same and how their proposed labeling would reflect that, and if they’re arguing on the ‘right to know’ position, where’s my ‘right to know’ if I’m getting a bar gene (the glufosinate resistance gene) or a Cry3bb1 gene (one of the insect resistance genes)? Not like that’s their only inconstancy, but they’re demanding an uninformative label on the claim that they’re supporting consumer information. What could possibly be the purpose for that…the only two things I can think of are simple ignorance on the part of the pro-label marchers or possibly a bit of astroturf on the part of organic companies that would benefit the most from scaring people about GE containing foods (not that I like to make claims without evidence, and I don’t have any to support that notion, but I do have suspicions given some of the associates of those label rallies).

    These people, as far as I can tell, would label an antisense Arctic apple the same as a transgenic Rainbow papaya the same as a cisgenic fungal resistant potato, when the cases of those three GMOs are very different. Even if we ignore all the other issues, that just doesn’t make sense.

    Another thing I’d point out is that there isn’t even labeling for varieties. If you go the the store and buy an apple, you usually know if you’re getting a HoneyCrisp or a Gala or whatnot, but if you buy a peach you don’t know if you’re getting an Elberta or Flamin’ Fury, or if you buy raspberries you don’t know if you’re getting Meeker or Heritage. If you think about tomatoes, there’s genes determining fruit shape, fruit color, flavors, growth habit, disease resistance. Where’s the ‘right to know’ about those genes, and about all the different varieties?

    And one more fun tidbit: by their logic, fruit should be labeled as grafted or own root grown Consider three points. First, grafted plants exchange genes between the cells at the graft point. You might think this is no big deal given that the exchange is very limited, and that’s the rational way to view it, but look at some of the other stances taken by this general group (not that I much care to treat a group like an ideologically homologous mass, but I strongly suspect the overlap between these beliefs is quite large). Second point is that anti-GMO ‘activists’ in France destroyed a trail of GE grape rootstocks (only the roots, not the above ground parts, were GE) and from what I’ve seen anyway many in the anti-GE crowd were against those rootstocks and glad to see them go. Third is that they tend to have this notion of ‘zero tolerance’ with respect to how much GE material can be present in organic food. If you believe that GE rootstocks ‘taint’ the whole thing and combine that with the zero tolerance policy, by pro-labeling logic then grafted fruit should be labeled. The only way out here is saying that this transfer is natural and therefore except, which of course is the appeal to nature fallacy.

    Of course, I really think that this whole thing has its roots in that fallacy though anyway, and the ‘right to know’ argument is just an attempt to justify that, to take their conclusion and work the logic backwards from there. I hope, without much optimism, that the folks at those ‘right to know’ marches have thought long and hard on these matters. That and the fact that if they impose this on everyone else but don’t buy it themselves (in contrast to how those who want other types of labels buy those products) they’re essentially making everyone else subsidize their beliefs, which just doesn’t seem fair.

  3. Charles M. Rader Says:

    GM, I’m glad that someone besides me has made the comparison with grafted plants.

    I can imagine an extensive propaganda campaign being waged. A photograph could show a tree with very different fruits on each branch, and you can really buy such a tree. Its appeal is that it is so “unnatural”. Does that make it scary?

    The anti-GMO propaganda often talks about the interspecies barrier that nature uses to prevent genes from sufficiently different species being mixed. But the tree grafters have known for centuries that you can get a graft between two very incompatible species by using an intermediate, e.g. Rootstock of species A grafted toa short trunk of species B and branching trunk of species C grafted to the short trunk. Certainly metabolites carried by the sap can flow between A and C. Who makes sure that this sort of chimerical creature that could never occur in nature is safe? Almost all of our fruit comes from grafted plants, and almost never is any of this fruit labeled.

    What has this done to biodiversity? If apples were sexually reproduced, there would be zillions of intermediate varieties, but the best varieties, reproduced asexually by grafts, have crowded out the others. All “Granny Smith” apples are the same.

  4. Anna Says:

    Really interesting! I am on the fence about whether or not mandatory labeling policies are a good idea, so your post gave me a lot to consider. On the one hand I agree that the desire for labeling is usually based more on unfounded fears than on evidence. On the other hand I do think people should be able to avoid the foods they want to avoid (though as you point out, that is already possible), and I wonder if mandatory labeling will give rise to more education on the methods used in the genetic engineering of foods. I know that when I started learning about it, it was demystified and much less scary. Whether or not someone makes the decision to eat or avoid GMOs, I would prefer they base their conclusions on the facts/evidence rather than fears (e.g., the fear of “frankenfood”) or ignorance (in line with the general ignorance a lot of the public has about how our food is produced).

    I personally try to eat organic soy (though I know plenty of GMO soy sneaks in ‘cos I’m not vigilant) because I think Monsanto is a rotten corporate citizen. If I were better about it, I’d find a list of all of their products so I could avoid them as well. My desire not to give too much money to Monsanto stems from my political beliefs rather than health or nutritional concerns. I personally don’t care if transgenes float into the organic soy field via pollen transfer; as long as Monsanto doesn’t get the money.

    By the way, I got a kick out of the anti-microwave sentiments on the “Hungry Man” parody graphic. That put it over the top for me. Wow. It reminds me of the couple of times in my life when other people made assumptions about all the food woo I must obviously subscribe to as a vegan — “Now, I know YOU don’t use microwaves …” they have said to me, out of nowhere! Once again — education demystifies what might be scary. I remember taking an astronomy class when I was 18, and the instructor described how microwaves worked. I remember thinking to myself, “That’s it? Why are some people so scared of them, then?”

  5. Gabe Says:

    The comparison between proponents of ID and GMO labeling seems unfair. Largely because ID doesn’t effect what I purchase/ingest/support, GMO labeling does. Furthermore, GMO labeling doesn’t entail anything other than “Genetically Modified…”. If the consumer chooses to associate GMs with a certain image, negative or positive, it’s the consumer’s fault, not the label’s. That’s very different than writing off Evolution as as “quackery” (or whatever ID proponents write it off as), or any other idea for that matter. “Franken Food” labeling is only what it would come too if the general consensus amongst the scientific community decided GMOs were seriously dangerous, and the FDA followed suit. The only product I can think of where that actually happens is with cigarettes (and arguably to a certain extent, prescription drugs), in which both cases there is a very valid reason to have them labeled as such. (Keep in mind, I’m not saying I definitively feel that GMOs are harmful to ingest, though it’s certainly possible).

    My current understanding (which I will admit is based entirely off of anecdotes and “Food Inc”. and the “Future of the Food”, so feel free to correct me if you have something more authoritative) is that GMOs often entail certain practices not entirely fair to the farmer who doesn’t work for Monsanto. And while it certainly doesn’t have to be that way, if that’s how it works, there is a valid reason for me to be entitled to know whether or not my food is GM.

    Obviously, the USDA Organic Label exists, as does the time one can devote to calling up and researching each and every individual food product they can, but a measly increase in money spent (it can’t really be *that* much, can it?) doesn’t seem to effectively counter having reliable, unbiased information provided by the government.

    • skepticalvegan Says:

      Those biology book stickers most definitely had the potential to have a negative effect on society

      You’re missing the point about there being specific criteria behind food labeling regulations. You cant just circumvent that just because you really want to. You also did not answer to GMO labeling being acknowledged Trojan horse to banning all GMOs.

      “Furthermore, GMO labeling doesn’t entail anything other than “Genetically Modified…”.”

      As I pointed out in my post “genetically modified” includes many practices in addition to genetic engineering. “GMO” labeling is scientifically meaningless because its inaccurate and vague.

      “If the consumer chooses to associate GMs with a certain image, negative or positive, it’s the consumer’s fault, not the label’s. “

      That’s quite similar to the defense given of the biology book stickers. The wording there was neutral as well yet the clear intent was to undermine confidence in evolutionary theory, just as the stated intention of many GMO labeling advocates is to undermine public confidence in GE food.


      “if that’s how it works, there is a valid reason for me to be entitled to know whether or not my food is GM.”

      The “fairness” of the practices vary by locality and you view of them depends on your political view point but if your concern is fairness then why not demand to know the management structure and pay rates of the farms supplying the food, whether workers got health insurance, ect. I think the problem is a larger one of capitalism rather than GE technology.

      Your also missing the massive scale of food production today, its impractical to segregate bulk GE ingredients.

      “but a measly increase in money spent (it can’t really be *that* much, can it?) doesn’t seem to effectively counter having reliable, unbiased information provided by the government.”

      it could be as little as a few dollars a person or as much as 10% of their food budget according to some studies. Would you accept an additional increase for a “contains animal products”/” Does not contain animal products” label?

    • Anna Says:

      My current understanding [...] is that GMOs often entail certain practices not entirely fair to the farmer who doesn’t work for Monsanto.

      For me, this is where a lot of people conflate two separate issues. There are legal issues regarding intellectual property and ethical issues involving Monsanto’s corporate practices, and then there is the actual science behind the genetic engineering of plants. It seems like a lot of people attack the GE foods themselves, or the science of GE, when what they’re really concerned about are separate issues, such as the corporate control of the food supply. But it’s probably easier to talk about the “freaky” plants and the “weird” science.

      I would personally rather boycott Monsanto than genetically engineered foods. Yes, right now there is a lot of overlap between the two, but as you said, it doesn’t have to be that way. As things are now, GE crops mostly benefit corporations like Monsanto, and the profits don’t “trickle down” to the consumer in the form of substantially lower food prices. The crops that are being grown have no direct benefits (e.g., better taste, better nutrition) to the consumer. For example, Roundup-Ready crops benefit Monsanto (whose proprietary seeds only work when used with their herbicide) and the farmers (who can spend less money on herbicides), but the consumer doesn’t reap these benefits. (You might say that we all benefit from having less tilling and fewer herbicides released into our environment, but I don’t think most consumers care about this, and I’d prefer to see GE harnessed to create plants that don’t need any herbicides or pesticides at all … not sure if that’s possible?)

      However, there are people exploring “open source” biotechnology, and people working on not-for-profit humanitarian GE foods (e.g., enhanced cassava that specifically addresses nutritional deficiencies in Africa, where it is a staple crop). University-affiliated scientists developed virus-resistant GE papaya when the entire Hawaiian papaya population was threatened with extinction by a virus. (I am unclear on whether or not Monsanto has their fingers in that pie, though I do know that at least initially, the GE seeds were provided to papaya farmers for free.)

      Tomorrow’s Table by Pamela C. Ronald and Raoul W. Adamchak is a fantastic book co-written by a plant geneticist and an organic farmer, if you’re interested in learning about how the technology works and some of the better potential applications for it.

      • Ewan R Says:

        “Only” benefitting the company that produces them and the farmers seems to me to be enough – the end consumer rarely has to benefit from the use of any other technology in the production of their food (tillage vs non-tillage, hybrid vs open pollinated, cold tolerant vs non, etc etc) why the demand that they should in this instance?

        I also wonder to what extent “open source” genetic engineering is likely to have an impact in the current climate – golden rice was severely hampered (still is afaik) by the regulatory process – the same will be true of any “open source” GMO – unless you have millions of dollars to do all the tests required to get regulatory approval you’re scuppered – the current framework practically plays into the hands of big ag interests given that they’re about the only ones with the expertise and cash to get anything commercialized.

        On the “as little as a few dollars a person note” – that isn’t even a minor thing – on the personal level sure, possibly, but on a grand scale “as little as a few dollars a person” is not dissimilar to saying “one billion dollars a year” (assuming I’m doing my math right, $3 x 400million (ish people) (although given that the whole testing operation would employ science graduates (one assumes!) and promote the building of all manner of automated machines and whatnot perhaps this ends up a zero sum endeavour.

        Full disclosure – I work for Monsanto, the views above are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of the company.

        • Anna Says:

          Didn’t see your reply until now — sorry.

          You are right that consumers rarely benefit from the specific methods by which their foods were produced — they can’t tell the difference either way. I don’t think I was “demanding” that consumers must benefit from GM foods — I was sharing my opinion on why I think there is more of a knee-jerk negative reaction against GM foods. People’s first instinct is to say “NO!” to any kind of change (at least if they didn’t perceive of a need for a change — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). Especially if they don’t understand the change. GMOs do sound really scary if you’re just hearing about them and don’t understand the technology. So why would they accept GMO foods when they can’t perceive a difference and you can’t even sell it with a tangible benefit, like improved flavor or increased nutrition?

          I just meant to describe a few reasons why I think GMOs are unpopular — I didn’t mean to insinuate that I agree with these reasons.

          PERSONALLY, I am grudgingly in favor of Roundup-Ready crops because they seem better for the environment on the balance. I only came to this conclusion after a lot of research, way more research than most people are willing to do. On the face of it, it sounds like Monsanto paired a proprietary seed with a proprietary herbicide; it’s hard not to be cynical about that, especially when you already harbor a natural distrust of corporations anyway. But I am much more excited by the potential of GMOs like the aphid-resistant wheat being developed, or the Bt crops that are already having so much success. I’m operating under the assumption that the fewer inputs, the better, assuming that these “fewer inputs” don’t result in your crops being destroyed by insects or pathogens, of course. If GM can give us crops that require fewer inputs (and it has and it can continue to do so), then I think that’s a good thing.

          You make good points about the difficulties inherent to “open-source” technology that isn’t backed by huge corporations with deep pockets. It does seem to be a catch-22 — many people are distrustful of Big Ag and what they see as corporate control of the food supply, but also aren’t in favor of publicly funded research or the types of regulations that would make it easier for smaller companies to pursue this work. I guess the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding some humanitarian GMO research, but it seems that the potential there is largely untapped.

  6. Fundstücke 44 – Prinz der Finsternis « Die Ausrufer Says:

    [...] Produkte, welche auf diese Art verändert wurden, mit einem Warnschild zu versehen. Und hier spricht sich ein Veganer gegen diese Idee [...]

  7. Timberati Says:

    Nicely expressed. I’ll have to keep the arrow nocked for my county’s board of supervisors meetings. That brain-trust just voted 3-2 in favor of labels.

    We are free to believe as we wish, be it 9-11 Truthers, Birthers, UFOers, ID creationists, contrailers, GMO/GEOphobes, (but I draw the line at homeopathy and anti-vaxers). That said anti-gmo people are pushing their beliefs on others.

    At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires labeling for specific reasons, primarily safety. If a food is significantly different than its name, the food’s name must be changed to describe the difference. If it has a significantly different nutritional property from its counterpart, its label must reflect the difference. And, if a food has a potential safety issue, there must be a statement on the label describing the issue; such as if a new food includes an allergen that consumers would not expect to be present based on the name of the food, the presence of that allergen must be disclosed on the label.

    The inconvenient truth is that GM products are as safe as any other food products. The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and food agencies in the United States and Europe say GM foods currently on the market pose no health risk.

    The reasons for a government to require special labeling should be for safety issues, not (as your post says eloquently) for lifestyle choices. In areas of simple choice, it is not the government’s responsibility to require labeling of the provenance of a food’s origin. The call for GM food to be labeled, falls into the same category as Jewish Kosher or Moslem Sharia law food: that is, such specific labeling is important to the followers of that ethic. Producers of non-GM, just as producers of Kosher or Sharia food, are free to label their food as such.

    The call for labeling implies that GM food should be avoided because the food is “unnatural.” This is the “ick” factor that happens with new technology; a 1969 Harris poll found a majority of Americans believed in vitro fertilization (“test tube babies”) was “against God’s will.” In less than a decade, those against had dropped to 28 percent with 60 percent pro-IVF.Because beliefs evolve, the FDA requires labels on food to safeguard our health, not our beliefs.

    http://normbenson.com/timberati/2010/12/02/are-you-eating-genetically-modified-foods-relax-weve-been-eating-gmos-for-many-many-years/

  8. Adam Merberg (@AdamMerberg) Says:

    I’ve been trying to inform myself about this issue lately. One thing I noticed about the California GMO labeling initiative is that it doesn’t apply to products from animals that have been fed transgenic crops. If the initiative passes and the anti-GMO crowd is right that GMO labels will scare people away, we should naturally expect to see some degree of shift from plant foods to animal foods. This obviously should concern people who care about animals. Of course, the big irony of it is that because of the inefficiency of feeding grain to animals, the initiative could easily result in increased GMO cultivation. So I’m having trouble understanding why the GMO opponents think this initiative serves their goals.

  9. RM Gray Says:

    You make a good case (Skeptical Vegan), and I would have to agree to an extent. Without doubt, we as a society have ‘legislated’ ourselves into a proverbial corner on many occasions. The practice of creating new legislation out of opinions and beliefs is harmful, and altering current laws to fit opinion is just as deleterious.

    People should take personal responsibility, form groups and ‘vote’ with your dollars. Buy local…buy fresh! Work toward only supporting manufacturers who don’t use GMO foods AND voluntarily label their products as such. If you belong to an organization that makes bulk purchases of edible consumables, then encourage them to follow suit.

    This doesn’t have to be a legislative issue. We have the power of the purchase. Companies value revenue much more than opinion and even consumer safety. It certainly is not an easy thing to do…to vote with dollars and remain steadfast in one’s conviction to a cause. BUT, the consumer has come out victorious in situations like this many times before, without needing to create new laws.

    Also, when you go to the store and/or restaurant, inform the manager that your personal preference is GMO-free. If you aren’t sure and it’s not voluntarily labelled, then don’t by it and let the manager/owner know exactly why you made that choice. As people stop buying it, the stores and restaurants will reduce and eventually eliminate inventory. This will inevitably filter up to distributors and manufacturers who will be forced (by profit motive) to adjust their behavior.

    If this is done en-mass…grass-roots style, then we’ll all soon be very pleased to read the “GMO-Free” labels popping up everywhere…voluntarily!

    Just my two cents though. I wish you all the best!

    • Ewan R Says:

      That should, I feel, be the approach taken (if you feel that way, and feel that you’re in a majority)… although the whole response does rather appear to rest on the odd assumption that getting rid of GMO foods is actually a good thing.

  10. Amber W. Says:

    RoundUp Ready (GM) crops were designed to increase crop yields, well that is not what is happening. It is not only about increased amounts of herbicides/pesticides in food but what it is doing to the environment. The use of herbicides/pesticides has more than doubled since the introduction of RoundUp Ready Crops. For those who are trying to learn more about this PLEASE go to sorcewatch dot org and find the article about the RoundUp Ready Controversy.

  11. bill jarrold Says:

    Thanks for your post.

    If you could debunk the specific points in this video I would appreciate it

    Such a debunking might help me convince a strong pro GMO person I know.

    Also this coming monday there is a radio call in show from 7 to 8 pm called City Visions in San Francisco. The number is 415-841-4134. The topic as I understand it is “how are you going to vote on the various propositions”. I hope you call in.

  12. Lc Starr Says:

    Hi, as long as you’re debunking, I’d be interested in your take on this ‘evidence-based’ report which addresses many of the GMO myths from industry and is co-authored by a rereader of molecular genetics. http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truths/GMO_Myths_and_Truths_1.3b.pdf

    It’s long and I am still working my way through it myself, but it seems to me to be grounded in science from a non-hysterical source. I have been on the fence about GMOs for a long time, but I am in favor of labeling as I don’t think there have been enough long-term studies. Many foods are labeled for a variety of other things now so that consumers can make a choice. If the corporations marketing GMO foods are so confident of their safety, I don’t understand why they are so resistant to labeling other than their concern over lost profits. Let those that don’t care buy the GMO foods and they can be the test group for those who are not convinced of their safety. Thanks!

  13. Vegans & GMO | Vegan GMO Says:

    […] GMO, GMO-A-GOGO | Bizarro Blog! Frankenfood Fears, Bt Cotton, Farmer Suicides, and Fluffy Thinking, GMO Labeling | Skeptical Vegan The IRRI – Conducting Genetic Modification We Can All Support, Alexey Surov and […]

  14. Julee K Says:

    Very impressed. The argument you raise here is SPOT ON. Well done.

  15. Julee K Says:

    Reblogged this on SLEUTH 4 HEALTH and commented:
    Even though this excellent post is several years old, its message is timeless – and absolutely SPOT ON. It really got me to thinking this morning. How much worldwide doubt is created by specialized groups with some kind of an axe to grind, whether it be for commercial gain or just due to misplaced ideology? I am talking all controversial subject areas here – creationism, climate change, vaccinations, GMOs, etc. I highly recommend this read.

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